Financial GoalsPersonal Finance

2016 Financial Goals Update

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Earlier this year I set a bunch of goals to move me toward financial security over 2016. In this post I’ll update my progress and adjust my action plan as required. They’re still very much a work in progress, but the progress is reasonable.

wealthfromthirty’s Financial Goals for 2016

  • Eliminate credit card debt of $2700 (AMEX)

I met this goal, but failed to remain debt free – It’s frustrating, but I’m learning that I need more than an emergency fund. I’m building an account with surplus cash for necessary purchases that come up at short notice, or for which I don’t want to draw on my emergency fund. Currently it sits at $450, and I’m adding to it when I can.

  • Stop using credit cards

Another goal I haven’t reached yet. The surplus cash fund should help with this one, as will acquiring a steady income, hopefully over the next few months.

  • Reduce eating out expense to < $250 per month

I’m part way there. I’ve reduced my average eating out expense by $100 per month, but I’m still about $100/month short of this goal.

  • Increase emergency fund toward $10,000

Current emergency fund is $11,500. Sweet.

  • Contribute $2400 to investments

Not quite. I contributed $1400 this year before withdrawing my investments. Preparing for starting my own business I felt it was important to put the cash aside.

Not even close. I really want to sit these lectures, but between completing a Masters thesis, working on my PhD and teaching at the University I didn’t have time. No worries though, they’re on YouTube and I’ve downloaded them, which will allow me to watch them when I get more time. 

See above…Hmm.

  • Continue reading high quality value investing blogs

This one I managed to do. My favourite blog at present is Base Hit Investing, by John Huber. It’s just brilliant.

  • Save $2600 for travel to Japan 🙂

So, not Japan, but Europe. Done and done. I was really fortunate to be able to travel despite it being a stretch financially. Part of me feels I should have been out of debt prior to going, but the trip was for a fixed date and remains one of the best things I’ve ever done – I wouldn’t take it back.

I managed to achieve 4/9 goals, and am still working on 5. Since I still have a credit card debt, you might say I only acheived 3 and have 6 to work on. That’s fine. The most important thing going forward is to refocus and work toward the following goals: i) stop using credit ii) reduce eating out expenses iii) reduce credit card debt and iv) create a reserve cash fund for use in place of a credit card. I’m not too concerned if I don’t get round to viewing the online lectures or reading Damodaran on Valuation, but I’d like to read them in the next 12 months if I can.

I’m doing well with two of my three personal goals, exercising 4hrs or more a week and submitted my Masters thesis in July. (I haven’t progressed with my Japanese lessons).

How are your 2016 goals going?

 

4 thoughts on “2016 Financial Goals Update

  1. Hey WFT (got it right this time),

    Really nice update. Congrats on getting rid of your AMEX debt. I think I could say that out of all your goals, none are failing. You’ve achieved some and the rest are works in progress. Your emergency fund is pretty sweet and pretty big at this point, maybe you could use a small part of that for your purchasing fund, then you don’t need to use credit cards quicker?

    Just curious, what are you investing in?

    Tristan

    1. Hi Tristan! Thanks for the congrats. The emergency fund is substantial, but there is a chance I’ll be drawing on it until I can find full-time employment even though I remain employed sessionally by my University. I’d like to move toward something like your suggestion, e.g. a liquid cash fund that can be used in place of a credit card and replenished as if repayments were still made.

      Re. my investments, I sold the only fund I held late last month. It was Novaport Capital’s Wholesale Smaller Companies Fund. It has a good track record of outperforming the index over 10 years and I like the management (I still have some super invested in it). Smaller cap companies in Australia are one of the few where active fund managers still beat the small cap incidies more often than not, although management is important. I wrote a brief piece on that here if you’re interested: https://wealthfromthirty.com/2015/12/29/index-funds-vs-mutual-managed-funds/

      Going forward I may use a mix of low cost index/etf and direct equity investments.

      Thanks for stopping by,
      WFT

  2. Cool blog WFT.

    Those lectures Damodaran are pretty tough going to be honest – his book as well. He definitely skews to the academic side of valuation (you probably don’t need to know 5 different dividend discount models!). If you are interested and prepared to slog through those resources they are well worth it, but it might be a bit overkill.

    McKinsey on Valuation might be a little lighter while still delivering the same material although as I type this it strikes me that you may have already read something like this and actually be after a very academic discourse. In that case you can pretty much ignore my entire comment!

    1. Hi ADI, thanks for raising a really good point. I agree the lectures are reasonably heavy going (they are, after all, from his MBA class). That said, I’m yet to find a free and thorough resource like his. Damodaran’s valuation texts probably aren’t for someone starting out or not interested in a more detailed estimation of intrinsic value. One might want to follow his blog for a slightly less academic interpretation of his ideas but exposure to the concepts I think is really valuable.

      I’m delighted you mentioned McKinsey which I haven’t read btw, but have heard so many people say is more accessible/practical than Damodaran. I’ll put it on my reading list. I’m not sure I’ve read anything like it, but the texts on valuation I have read have been inadequate either in explaining the mathematics behind the model or in how to apply the model to equity valuation. One thing that really impressed me with Damodaran was his explanation of these concepts and use of distributions (withing distributions) to estimate intrinsic value. To me, arriving at a probability that ‘x’ business is worth at least ‘$Y is a good way to think about equities. What did you think of McKinsey?

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment. Hope to hear from you again!

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